It’s been another busy year for Affinity with our Lecture Series, ongoing BBQs and Brekkies, and planning for a busy 2017. Scroll down for snapshots of recent events, message from the CEO, and links to all the recordings of the talks if you missed out. Lots of exciting things coming up so keep an eye out!
Also huge thanks to all of you for your friendship and support over the past year and hope there are many more to come! Enjoy the festive season, and our very best wishes for a wonderful new year!
1) The International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC)
On Sunday, 17 April 2016, Affinity Intercultural Foundation co-hosted one of the biggest events in its 20 years of establishment: the International Festival of Language and Culture (IFLC).It is an annual celebration and showcase the range of linguistic talents and cultural diversity from around the world. IFLC started in 2003 in Turkey with students from 17 countries. In 2014, 145 countries took part in the events across the world with more than 2000 participants. This year, the festival held in Sydney, Australia, for the second time, organised by Affinity Intercultural Foundation. This spectacular event showcased wonderful performances by students from 22 different countries, further highlighting the cultural mosaic of Australia and the world in which we live. Within a matter of a week in which all performers were together they returned home in tears, as they had formed very close bonds with their fellow performers from other countries. IFLC has proven that as humans we can be ‘colour-blind’ – that the colour of our skin does not prevent us from forming friendships and living in peace and harmony. These young performers from all corners of the globe have become our peace ambassadors advocating the peace; harmony and friendship that this world is in dire need of.
2) Goodwill Visit to His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley
The 2016 NSW Parliament Friendship and Dialogue Iftar took place at the NSW Parliament House, Strangers Lounge. Co-hosted by Affinity and NSW parliamentarians the Hon. John George Ajaka, MLC and the Hon. Sophie Cotsis, MLC, the event was attended by over 200 guests including MP’s, consuls and representatives of the community and government. Sandra Sully, Channel 10 Journalist and Senior Editor with TEN Eyewitness, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
The Home Iftars have been a growing tradition since its inception in 2006. This year was no exception for Affinity intercultural Foundation as 29 Australian-Muslim family homes across Sydney shared an iftar meal with members of the wider community including representatives from politics, public service, media, academia and various faith and community groups.
“I love you because of your service and contribution to the community. I love your community because of its service and contribution to Australia.” – Hon. John Ajaka, MLC
Participants’ feedback has indicated that these dinners not only facilitate understanding of the Islamic faith, but also enhance the Muslim community’s sense of belonging in Australian society.
“Well done Affinity! Thank you for the generous hospitality shown to many. It is very much appreciated. God bless you and all your host families at Eid and throughout the coming year.” – Patrick McInerney
5) Saturday BBQs
The Saturday BBQs are an initiative in the spirit of our highly successful home encounters initiatives we have been organising since our inception. The family-friendly atmosphere and warm hospitality of our hosts provide a relaxed environment for conversation while our guests enjoy delicious food alongside a cup of tea or strong Turkish coffee. The human touch sometimes makes all the difference and feedback for our various home-based programs has been overwhelmingly positive from both hosts and guests.
6) Sunday Brekkies
The Sunday Brekkies are an initiative in the spirit of our highly successful home encounters initiatives we have been organising since our inception. These are small informal events (about 8-12 guests) at the residence of a Muslim family in Sydney with the aim of contributing to social harmony and a healthy modern Australian society through encouraging dialogue, facilitating cultural exchange and fostering friendships.
7) Morning Conversation
In 2016 we launched our new ‘Morning conversations’ even – pre-9 breakfast events with facilitated interactive conversations between experts and an audience of diverse professional backgrounds.
The events begin with a traditional Turkish breakfast spread, and guests enjoy the breakfast until the official conversation started at 8am. On Tuesday morning 11th of November, Affinity hosted the eminent scholar Professor Mona Siddiqui from Edinburgh University. On Wednesday morning, 19th of October, Affinity hosted Jihad Dib MP (Member for Lakemba and Shadow Minister for Education), and Anton Enus (presenter of World News SBS), for a conversation on ‘Building community through schools’.
8) Lecture Series
9) Abraham Conference
Affinity Intercultural Foundation together with their partners the Jewish Board of Deputies, Uniting Church of Australia and Columban Mission Institute co-hosted the 2016 Abraham Conference: Hate Speech and Violence at the Parramatta Mission Fellowship Hall on Sunday 21 August 2016.
Affinity together with its partners was pleased to welcome over 100 guests from across the business sector, education sector and the wider community. Some notable attendees are MPs Jihad Dib and Julie Owen and the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed.
Message from the CEO
2016 was a year of ample opportunities and many successful projects including the IFLC, Iftar Dinners and weekend programs. We would like to sincerely thank everyone who made these projects possible and a huge success.
I believe we owe this success and high regard within the community to the main principles that guide our organisation:
- Bringing people together around universal human values and carrying out projects conforming to these values
- Accepting everyone for who they are and promoting such understanding through our programs
- Celebrating and further promoting great values existing within the Australian community
- Being sincere in our efforts and without ulterior motives
Our programs to date, as well as our programs in the future, are a testament to Affinity’s integration within mainstream Australian society and our commitment to contribute to this country.
I would like to thank you all again for your support on behalf of the whole Affinity family, and wish you successful, peaceful, healthy and joyful 2017.